What are NBA Top Shot Moments? Top Shot Explained for Beginners

What are NBA Top Shot Moments? Top Shot Explained for Beginners

byChristian Hardy


Welcome to NBA Top Shot, the NBA NFT platform where you can buy, sell and trade historic Moments from NBA history in the form of digital collectibles called Moments.

Each Top Shot Moment encapsulates a memorable highlight from your favorite NBA players, like Vince Carter’s final career shot in 2020. With a unique serial number that is stored on the blockchain, every Moment is unique to your collection. 

Let’s explain exactly what these NBA NFTs are, what makes them unique, and how to buy a Moment in packs and from the marketplace.

If you’re new to Top Shot, remember you can start your collection by claiming your Starter Pack which includes three Series 2 Base Moments for $9. 

What is a Top Shot Moment?

The easiest way to think of a Moment is a digital trading card — except it’s a licensed NBA video, not a still image. Instead of a physical card, these NBA NFTs are officially-licensed NBA highlights, or “Moments.” 

Once you’ve created an account, you can buy Moments via the Top Shot marketplace or through packs, such as Top Shot Starter Packs. Start collecting your favorite players or teams, and you’ll add to your Collector Score, giving you access to exclusive packs with limited Moments.

Once a Moment is in your collection, your record of ownership will remain permanent on the Flow blockchain. In fact, you’ll know exactly who has owned that exact Moment before you, along with how much they paid and when  — thanks, blockchain!

There are nine Moment attributes that make each one unique. It may sound like a lot, but you’ll get the hang of it quick. Let’s talk about each one.

Top Shot Moment Attributes

1. Player

The NBA player featured in the Moment — though many Moments heavily feature multiple players, like this Kevin Durant MGLE from Series 2. Though every Moment features several players, only one will ever be the featured player — a permanent on the blockchain. You can easily search for specific NBA players in the Top Shot marketplace

2. Team

The team of the featured player in the Moment. Just like players, you can easily search for specific teams on the marketplace. Teams are permanent to the Moment, so even as a player changes teams, the Moment and the team stay the same.

3. Mint Count

The total number of the particular Moment that will ever be created. Mint count can be either:

  • Circulating Count (CC) — meaning more of the Moment could be made in the future
  • or Limited Edition (LE) — meaning no more of these Moments will ever be minted.

For Moments in your collection, the mint count is the second number listed on your Top Shot profile, after serial number.

Keep in mind, just because a Moment has a certain mint count, that does not mean all of those Moments have been released to the public. Always check the collectible details on each Moment page on Top Shot. If there is still some “unavailable for purchase,” that means Top Shot has not released them yet, and it could affect the price of the Moment once they are released.

4. Serial Number

The serial number is the specific number you own out of the total made, and is listed before the full mint count.. Serial numbers mean that each Moment ever created is unique. Some serial numbers — like first mints, jersey match, and lower numbers — are considerably more valuable. 

Learn more about serial numbers and serial number pricing here.

5. Play Type

The type of play that’s featured in the Moment. These can currently be dunk, layup, 3-pointer, jump shot, assist, steal, block, and handles. Every Moment has only one Play Type.

Different play types also earn you different boosts in MomentRanks Play, a daily fantasy game for NBA Top Shot Moments.

6. Series

Each series represents an NBA season, with Series 1 Moments being created from the 2019-2020 NBA Season, Series 2 from 2020-2021, and so on. Top Shot Series 3 will represent the 2021-2022 season.

In the 2021 offseason, Top Shot created a new Series called Summer 2021, which included the first-ever Moments you could only buy in-person (the Summer of ‘21 set). This series is also expected to include the second set of Run It Back Moments.

7. Set

Each Series contains several sets that are released gradually throughout the year. Some of these are one-time sets, like the Cosmic set from Series 1. Others, like the Base Set (Common), Metallic Gold LE (Rare), and Holo (Legendary) are recurring sets in every main Series.

8. Tier

Currently, there are three tiers: Common, Rare, and Legendary. Moments are designated to a tier based on their total mint count. These designations have changed as the platform has grown, and could change again, but as of now, they breakdown like this: 

  • Common: 10,000+ mint
  • Rare: 500-4,999 mint
  • Legendary: 50-499 mint

In the Summer of ‘21 set, Top Shot added Fandom Tier with the distribution of in-arena Moments at NBA Summer League. There is no fixed mint count for Fandom Tier Moments, as they will be used to reward NBA and Top Shot fandom in various ways, including Showcase Challenges and more in-arena Moments. Fandom tier is meant to be somewhere in between Common and Rare.

9. Badges

Not every Moment has a badge, but if a Moment has one, it sets it apart from the pack. There are currently four different badges to mark Moments from a player’s rookie season, first game, and their first Moment ever minted on Top Shot.

There is one more distinction that is similar to a badge, but is not filterable in the Top Shot marketplace like a badge: the pink challenge reward star. Challenge rewards can only be received by completing the challenge. These rewards are marked on the site with a pink star. 

Fun fact: Jordan Nwora’s Three-Star Rookie Moment is the only Moment on Top Shot with all five badges currently in existence.

Read more about the Top Shot badges here.

How to Buy a Top Shot Moment

There are currently only three ways to add a Moment to your collection: receive a gift from another Top Shot account, open a pack, or buy from the official Top Shot marketplace.

Buying a Top Shot Pack

There’s nothing quite like ripping open a pack, with all of the possibilities that could be inside each one. Every new collector can claim their Starter Pack — three base Moments for $9. After you’ve got your first pack, be on the look out for future limited pack drops, as well as more Base Set packs.

Packs sell out fast, so you have to be there at the time of the drop for a chance to enter the randomized queue and buy your own.

Top Shot will announce upcoming packs through email, Twitter, and Discord, so you’ll always know at least eight hours ahead of time when special pack drops are coming. However, in Series 2, Base Set packs could drop at any time without prior warning. 


Non-Base Common Packs, Rare, and Legendary packs are all only available via exclusive drops, typically with more demand than supply. Because of the high demand Top Shot uses a randomized queue system to decide who will be able to purchase the limited packs before they are sold out. 

With a higher Collector Score — which rewards holding Moments — you’ll have a higher chance to buy the more exclusive, more valuable packs in these queues.

All collectors can only purchase one pack per drop. But even with that limit, if you join a pack drop, you may not score a pack. It’s the luck of the draw, and only a higher Collector Score can improve your odds, by allowing you to enter multiple queues. 

View your Collector Score here. 


How much do Top Shot Packs cost?

Top Shot pack prices are always subject to change, but throughout Series 2, we’ve got a better idea of what to expect from pack prices.

Base Set packs: $9

Common (Non-Base) packs, like Cool Cats and Hustle & Show: $14-20

Rare packs: $99-200

Legendary packs: $999+

Buying Moments on the Top Shot Marketplace

You can buy Moments from the marketplace on the Top Shot website. Here, you can list any Moment you own in your collection, and anyone can buy it. 

The best thing about the Top Shot marketplace? It’s open 24/7, outside of occasional maintenance, so you can buy at any time.

Check our full guide on how to buy and sell Moments on Top Shot for more tips and tricks to the Top Shot marketplace..

The Top Shot marketplace has filters to help you find what you’re looking for. On the MomentRanks Marketplace Explorer, you can use even more detailed filters for every Moment attribute, price, expected value, and more, to find the exact Moments you want to buy. Links to each Moment listing on the Explorer will take you directly to the Top Shot Marketplace to buy the Moment.

Once you’ve checked out using Dapper balance (which you can add to from debit/credit card or crypto) or a card, the Moment typically appears in your collection within a minute.

Serial Numbers on Top Shot

Every Moment ever created is unique because each Moment has its own serial number. That means there’s only one #23 of every LeBron James Moment or #30 of every Steph Curry Moment. The serial number indicates the order in which the Moment was minted in. 

The value of any Moment on the Top Shot market can be higher based on its serial number. This is especially true for the #1, jersey matches, and last mints, but many collectors have special niches they like to collect, like birth date, statlines, or area codes. For example, the #23 LeBron James is significantly more valuable than the #10, #109, or #1,109.

However, single-digit, two-digit, and three-digit serials are also often scarce, which can greatly drive their value. While Top Shot is a collectible, it’s also a market, so it’s driven by supply and demand.

With MomentHQ, you can see the historical purchases of every Moment and search for the MomentRanks value of any specific serial number. Because some serial numbers generally hold more value on the market, the serial number estimator factors in the player, set, series, serial number, and much more to find the value of your specific Moment.

Ultimately, demand and scarcity for lower numbers often drive the value of serial numbers. The sales of these lower serial numbers are accounted for when looking at the MomentRanks Value of your Top Shot account on your MomentRanks profile.

Start Collecting Top Shot Moments, Own NBA History

Understanding Moments and what they represent is key to starting your collection on Top Shot. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop. As the NBA’s officially-licensed NFT, Top Shot has the potential to bring NBA fans closer to their favorite teams than ever  — something that’s already been shown at the end of Series 2.

Tools and analysis from MomentRanks can help research Moments, track your collection, and simplify the massive Top Shot Market — now with thousands of different Moments. 

As you start collecting Moments and diving into Top Shot, here are additional tools, content, and resources to use to learn more about what you’re collecting and the community around it.

Top Shot Community Resources

Use the resources below to learn more about NBA Top Shot and the market along your journey, from analytics to community content creators.

NBA Top Shot data and account valuation on MomentRanks

A Top Shot hub with the most accurate Top Shot account and market valuation tools easily accessible to all collectors. Includes a marketplace to view live listings from Top Shot, track sales, watch your account rank, and the only Top Shot social media (The Wall) and daily fantasy game (Play)

NBA Top Shot data and account valuation on Evaluate.Market

Evaluate Market has a vast catalog of NBA Top Shot data to help users collect, buy, and trade Top Shot Moments and many other NFTs. Evaluate.Market data is linked on every NBA Top Shot Moment page. 

Own The Moment

Own The Moment provides Top Shot collectors with access to Top Shot data you can’t find anywhere else, including detailed collector data to help collectors reach a higher Collector Score

NBA Top Shot on Dapp Radar

See the bigger picture of the NBA Top Shot, including active users, transactions, and sales. 

The First Mint Podcast

A podcast dedicated to all things NBA Top Shot, created by LG Doucet. Covering marketplace trends, news, big time Moment sales, and talking to the community.

MomentRanks Podcast

A podcast focused on the macro-level of NBA Top Shot, brought to you by host Max Minsker. Bringing collectors the latest news and detailed insights on NBA Top Shot.

NBA Top Shot Talk

A YouTube channel dedicated solely to NBA Top Shot, including the market, news, analysis, and strategy. Identifying trends to help you with your Top Shot collection.

Ballers Blockchain

Host Steve of Ballers Blockchain brings Top Shot users on his personal collecting journey, keeping collectors informed on the latest happenings from across Top Shot.

Packrip Media

A community-focused NFT media group that is primarily creating content around NBA Top Shot. Beyond just data, Packrip focuses on the stories and people that make NFT communities special. Articles, podcasts, streams and more.

Shot Talkin’: An NBA Top Shot Talk Show

A weekly NBA Top Shot stream where three guys who love the NBA and collecting come together to discuss the latest news, analysis, and collecting strategies for NBA Top Shot. And get a little weird in the process.